Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Reader Asks: Good but Simple, West Side food?

Reader Inquiry: Hey, any ideas on a dinner spot for mom, dad and me? They like good but simple food, I'm thinking a step above Red Robin. I don't want to go anywhere expensive....any suggestions? I'd like to stay somewhere in the Northwest/Pearl. --BH

Dear BH, 
Let's see...NW/Pearl, better than Red Robin, good but simple, inexpensive, nice enough to take mom & dad...

Here are my top four choices: 

1. Bridgeport Brewing Company: I didn't inherit my affection for haute cuisine from my father, that's for sure. But my mom and I refuse to patronize Burgerville (as much as I love their seasonal shakes) three times a day when my parents visit, so we compromise on Bridgeport. Everyone loves the ambiance, you can't argue with the quality of brew, and the menu has something for everyone, at a reasonable price point. And no, we don't eat there three times a day either, although you could--their bakery is great. We just make my dad sit in the car or at a covered bus stop nearby when we eat at a restaurant that transcends his culinary comfort level. haha, just kidding! He sits in the bar and has a beer and eats leftover airplane peanuts!
Bridgeport Brewpub * www.bridgeportbrew.com * 1313 NW Marshall * 503.241.3612 * yes, they take reservations. yes, you should try their blue heron ale, named after Portland's official city bird, bet you didn't know that, see? reading tabletalkportland makes you well fed and smarter

2. Casa del Matador: disclaimer-I haven't been here yet...working on it, however, judging from the menu and the buzz I've heard about it, this would be a safe bet for you. The menu has a decent selection of hearty starters, soups, salads, sandwiches & burgers--all around the $10 mark, and meat and seafood entrees from $13.50 up. Plus they have a good selection of margaritas, always nice to have on hand when hanging out with the parents. Oops, did I write that out loud? I mean, I personally have never used tequila to prepare for a parental visit.
Casa del Matador *  matadorseattle.com/location-portland.html * 1438 NW 23rd Ave * 503.228.2855 * no reservaciones but that gives you more pre-dinner margarita time at the bar, not a bad idea really

3. Besaws: Very cute place on Nw 23rd and NW Savier, cozy and homey, pretty traditional Northwest influenced menu. Starters ($5.50-$10) include everything from bruschetta to a smoked salmon crepe, they have a few hearty soups and good-sized salads to choose from ($3.50 - $12), and more than half  the entrees are $15 or below. There's also a decent selection of burgers ($8-$9.50), so I think we could bring my dad inside here, although there is a cozy bus stop right outside. 
Besaws * www.besaws.com * 2301 NW Savier * 503.228.2619 * reservations? yes if you have six or more. so bring the three super-cute guys you're dating simultaneously, the ones with all the tattoos and piercings and questionable views on governmental structure or lack thereof, I know  my parents love that

4. Ram's Head: It's a McMenamins, so the usual menu/beer, but I think this is one of my favorite McMenamins in terms of ambiance, even if I did once have a particularly disastrous date there. It's got loads of comfy booths, nooks and crannies for any size party, and the noise level is well below a roar in case you want to be able to hear your parents' inquisition on every single aspect of your existence and ensuing evaluation of your "dubious life choices."
Ram's Head * www.mcmenamins.com * 2282 NW Hoyt * 503.221.0098 * no reservations, but it's doubtful you'll have much of a wait (if any), good topics to distract parents from above-mentioned inquisition: weather, current health ailments, Hillary C., tattoos and piercings you plan to get.


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